Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The plots thicken on the Hill

So... we now have 4 house reps who will block any action on the Hill unless Deloe fesses up and accounts for the 378,000 in legal fees (our tax dollars) which are being paid to lawyers to defend DIMasi. These four reps, who supported John Rogers as speaker last year have requested an independent, outside audit of the fees charged by the attorneys. So far, 30 members of the house have meet and are questioning DeLeos lack of planning and goal setting.

By last night, DeLeo aides circulated a letter that accompanied a subpoena for House records from the US attorney. The letter said, “You are hereby requested not to disclose the existence of this subpoena,’’ and aides implied they were not releasing details of the legal bills because it would provide details of the subpoenas. The letter, though, stated they were not required to comply with the request.

The dissension is expected to continue today. Representative Matthew Patrick, Democrat of Falmouth, said he would introduce another order today and vowed to shut the House session down if he cannot get a vote. Under the rule, any member can block action when the Legislature meets in informal session.

Look for this to take down DeLeo very soon as he leaves the State House for other opportunities in State government.

The Patrick administration filled more than 1,300 state jobs this year - including a librarian for cons, a painter for hospitals and a “game biologist” - in a hiring frenzy that has watchdogs questioning whether the governor has a tight grip on hiring in the face of a dire fiscal crisis.

A Herald payroll analysis also indicates scores of the lucky job-seekers also gave generously to Gov. Deval Patrick’s election campaign.

The hiring flurry is alarming state budget observers who slammed the governor for dishing out plum posts - including 20 that carry salaries of $100,000 or more - with no apparent rhyme or reason.

The list of new hires obtained by the Herald shows jobs spread out across executive offices:
# A $78,000-a-year teacher and a $47,400-a-year librarian for the Department of Correction, two of 200 prison employees hired;
# A $31,000-a-year painter for the Department of Public Health, which also added a physician specialist for $210,500 - the top-paid hire this year;
# A $44,307-a-year game biologist for the Department of Fish and Game;
# And a $206,000-a-year commissioner of higher education and a $117,000 elementary education administrator.

In all, the state has added $46 million in new hires from January to November, the Herald review shows.

The governor’s aides defended their actions, noting that the administration has since laid off 236 of the recent hires.

Pay as you go.. with Deval. What is he thinking?

A state investigation has concluded that staff engaged in “pervasive, systemic cheating’’ on MCAS tests at a Springfield charter school where scores skyrocketed last spring, the state’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education said yesterday.

Another black eye for the MCAS supporters.